Thursday, 14 May 2009

Is "everythingstanleyexceptplanes.com" Possible?...

I have not kept it a secret that I am in love with tools. I also have let it be known that I have a soft spot for old Stanley tools, although that is not etched in stone. It all boils down to a tool meeting my three point criteria; if it is well made, if its design interests me, and if I know I will use it. If a particular tool meets those three stipulations, I won’t hesitate to pass the bucks across the table to own it.

I just bought a Stanley #66 Beader with 8 blades and 2 fences; in other words, the complete set. I bought it from momandpopcybershop on eBay and paid $4.00 more for it than I would have paid for a brand-new one from Lie-Nielsen and $110.00 more than the newly designed one offered by Lee Valley. I paid “through the nose” for this tool and I’m thrilled to death that I have it.

I have been looking at beaders for some time now, even going as far as placing the new Veritas one on my Lee Valley Wish List. So why, all of a sudden, would I end up buying this particular tool?

I bought it for two reasons. The first is that it met the three point criteria that I have set for myself when it comes to buying a tool. The second reason I bought it was that I could quickly and easily confirm what the seller was saying about the tool. On their listing, Mom and Pop had a heading in large and bold text that stated the tool was “Guaranteed 100% Complete”. Further on in their description they stated that you could “probably date this example to around 1909”.

One click on a bookmark and I was in The Superior Works site, another click and I was on the page where the #66 was listed and a bit of a scroll had me reading when Stanley started producing this tool, and what changes they made to it over its production and the dates when they made those changes. The results of a short read told me that, yes, this tool was produced with 8 blades and 2 fences, so their claim to being complete was correct. I learned that Stanley started producing this tool with a nickel finish in 1900, and they added the eighth blade – the blank one, in 1909, so Mom and Pop’s statement that it was a 1909 model could be true. It could also have been made around 1941 as well, as this particular tool in this particular configuration was produced between 1909 and 1941 with no serial number or other marking to narrow the date of production down further. Armed with that easily obtainable information, I now knew what I was buying and without hesitation I started bidding, determined to get it.

So why is it that I can’t do this when I see a Stanley chisel I want? Or a Stanley Bevel? Why is it that I can go on a number of different sites and find out everything there is to know about Stanley planes, but finding out about any other type of tool made by this company is an exercise in futility?

As a result of all of this, I started to put together a plan to set up a new web site named, “everythingstanleyexceptplanes.com”. The domain name is available. So why not go for it? I’ll tell you why - Content – or specifically, the lack thereof. To put all of this information together so the site would be on the same level as Patrick's Blood and Gore would take a lifetime, not to mention the family jewels to finance the purchase of the research material needed. So what to do?

What about a collaborative site? Would any of you that have information about a Stanley non-plane tool be interested in sharing it? Is there enough of you out there that would be interested in something like this?

Let me know.

Peace,

Mitchell